SOURCE: Siamab Therapeutics

Siamab Therapeutics

October 08, 2014 09:15 ET

Siamab Therapeutics Appoints Robert Mashal to Board of Directors

Receives SBIR Grant Focused on Cancer Stem Cells; Research to Be Conducted in Collaboration With Massachusetts General Hospital

NEWTON, MA--(Marketwired - Oct 8, 2014) - Siamab Therapeutics, Inc., a biotechnology company developing cancer immunotherapies, today announced that Robert Mashal, President & CEO of NKT Therapeutics, has been appointed to the company's Board of Directors. In addition, the company has received a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) for the development of novel therapeutic agents that target cancer stem cells (CSCs). The research will be conducted in collaboration with Bo Rueda, Ph.D, Director, Vincent Center for Reproductive Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital.

"We look forward to working with Dr. Rueda and his research team, and are honored that the NCI has awarded us this SBIR grant to develop therapies targeting cancer stem cells," said Jeff Behrens, Siamab's CEO. "We are thrilled to have Robert join our Board. His diverse background and extensive experience with emerging companies will be of great value as we continue to grow the company."

Dr. Mashal is President & CEO of NKT Therapeutics. Before joining NKT Therapeutics, Dr. Mashal was President of Alinea Pharmaceuticals. Prior to that, he was a partner at Boston Millenia Partners, a venture capital firm where he focused on investment opportunities in life sciences. He served as a Director of EpiGenesis Pharmaceuticals, Novalar Pharmaceuticals, GlycoFi, Sapphire Therapeutics, CoApt Systems, Protein Forest, and Cardiomems. He was previously a Program Executive with Vertex Pharmaceuticals, where he led cancer drug development strategy and oversaw pre-clinical/clinical development, marketing, regulatory and business activities. He was also a member of the Joint Research Committee for the $800 million Vertex-Novartis collaboration. Prior to that, Dr. Mashal served as a consultant at McKinsey & Company, and a faculty member and Attending Physician at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham & Women's Hospital, and Harvard Medical School. Dr. Mashal is a diplomate in both internal medicine and oncology and a graduate of Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Mashal received his M.D. from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

"I am excited to be joining Siamab at such a critical stage in the company's growth and look forward to providing support and guidance to the management team," said Robert Mashal. "Siamab has an impressive technology platform with tremendous potential for developing innovative cancer immunotherapies."

Under the SBIR grant recently awarded, Siamab will collaborate with Dr. Rueda's lab to explore the potential of Siamab's technology to create anti-glycan antibodies that target specific populations of cancer stem cells and explore the relationship between tumor associated carbohydrate antigens ("TACAs") and CSCs.

"Targeting CSCs represents a promising approach to the treatment of cancer," said Dr. Rueda. "I look forward to working with Siamab to explore the potential of their agents to target and inhibit the growth of CSCs."

Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are a subset of tumor cells that possess characteristics associated with normal stem cells. Specifically, they have the ability to self-renew, differentiate and generate the diverse cells that comprise the tumor. CSCs have been identified and isolated in several human cancer types, including breast, brain, colon, head and neck, leukemia, liver, ovarian, pancreas and prostate. These CSCs represent a small percentage of the tumor as a distinct population and cause relapse and metastasis by giving rise to new tumors. While chemotherapy and other conventional cancer therapies may be more effective at killing bulk tumor cells, CSCs are thought to escape and seed new tumor growth due to their quiescent and chemoresistant properties. Therefore, traditional therapies often cannot completely eradicate tumors or prevent cancer recurrence and progression to metastasis. With growing evidence supporting the role of CSCs in tumorigenesis, tumor heterogeneity, resistance to chemotherapeutic and radiation therapies, and the metastatic phenotype, the development of specific therapies that target CSCs holds promise for improving survival and quality of life for cancer patients, especially those with metastatic disease.

About Siamab Therapeutics, Inc.
Siamab Therapeutics, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company developing novel cancer immunotherapies. Siamab has developed a platform of technologies that enable the rapid discovery and development of therapeutic antibodies that bind to a novel class of carbohydrate antigens present on cancer cells, tumor associated carbohydrate antigens (TACAs). Siamab has developed a patented set of technologies to identify and precisely assay anti-TACA antibodies -- enabling rapid discovery and screening of candidate antibodies as well as characterization of binding epitopes. The company's lead program is in preclinical studies for the treatment of solid tumors. Siamab's corporate headquarters are in Newton, MA and laboratory facilities are in San Diego, CA. Learn more at www.siamab.com

Contact Information

  • Siamab Therapeutics contact:
    Jeff Behrens
    Chief Executive Officer
    Siamab Therapeutics, Inc.
    617 500-3455
    jbehrens@siamab.com

    Media contact:
    Michelle Linn
    Linnden Communications
    M. 774 696 3803
    michelle@linndencom.com